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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Catholics Come Home Launches Beautiful New Television Series for E.W.T.N. Watch

Image of Tom Peterson, the founder and CEO of Catholics Come Home

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I am happy to report to my readers that Catholics Come Home has produced a stunning and inspiring television series for the Eternal Word Television Network (E.W.T.N.). It began airing on Labor Day weekend. The series was filmed on location in various cities ... continue reading


Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. 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, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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