Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/14/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There is no contradiction between fidelity to the teaching of the Church and showing merciful love

The election of Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo reaffirms the leadership of the Catholic Church on Life, Religious Freedom and Marriage at a critical time in our history.  It also exposes the annoying and tiring effort to place in opposition the welcome direction from Pope Francis to lead with mercy and love and the prophetic mission of the Church to defend life, family and freedom. Like so many things Catholic, it is not either/or but both/and.

Archbishop Kurtz, the new President of the USCCB and cardianl Dolan, the outgoing President

Archbishop Kurtz, the new President of the USCCB and cardianl Dolan, the outgoing President

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/14/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Archbishop Kurtz, Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Dolan, Catholic Bishops, US Bishops, USCCB, Baltimore, Right to Life, Religious Freedom, marriage, social justice, Pope francis, Deacon Keith Fournier


BALTIMORE, MD (Catholic Online) -The leadership of the Bishops of the United States is now in the hands of two men strongly identified with the defense of life, marriage and religious Freedom. These two men are also filled with the love of God and committed to the dynamic orthodoxy which should characterize all of our lives as Catholic Christians in this new missionary age of the Church.

There is no contradiction between fidelity to the teaching of the Church and showing merciful love. The efforts by some in the media to equate the direction of Pope Francis calling pastors to lead with the mercy and love of God and moving away from fidelity to the social teaching of the Church is mistaken.  There is nothing loving or merciful about denying the truths which lead to human freedom, fulfillment and flourishing and help build a truly human and humane society.

I was very happy to hear the news of the selection of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville as the new President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I still remember November 15, 2010, when he was elected as the Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On the opening day of that conference in 2010 the Archbishop compared the attack on marriage and the family to Roe v. Wade.

He asked his brother Bishops: If you had seen Roe v. Wade coming three years out, what would you have done differently? He continued, In our Nation we find ourselves at a moment of great opportunity but also great consequence ...The urgency of our priority to promote, protect and strengthen marriage has not abated.... So, in a sense, today is like 1970 for marriage.

He was correct. In fact, he was prophetic. He has served as the chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage with distinction. His election as president of the USCCB is no accident. He is a merciful pastor and faithful to the teaching of the Church. Like Pope Francis, he is a loyal son of the Church with a big heart. 

The United States of America is experiencing the devastating effects of the undermining of marriage and the family - and the society founded upon them. The Archbishop understands the indispensable role of the two parent, opposite sex, marriage bound family as the foundation of the social order. He knows that protecting marriage and the family serve the common good of the whole society.

Along with the effort to reaffirm the first task of evangelizing, showing Christian love and reaching out to the poor in all of their manifestations, we have to be honest; there is a cultural revolution underway in the West. It is not merciful or loving to pretend it is not happening. 

We also need to remember that this is not the first time in our two thousand year history that the Church has found itself in a culture which has lost its moral compass because it turned away from God and His loving plan for all men and women. In fact, we grew up in weather like this. We are called to become the soul of the world again. 

We should not join the ranks of some contemporary Chicken Little's complaining that the sky is falling; we should hold the sky up while we proclaim and demonstrate the new way of life in Jesus Christ. We should not wag our fingers at those who disagree. However, we should engage them with the loving truth of Christianity, precisely because we do love them with the Love of God.

Those who oppose the Right to Life of our first neighbors, children in the first home of the whole human race - their mother's womb - have temporarily entrenched the intrinsic evil of abortion on demand in the positive law of this Nation.  Now, some demand that a legal equivalency be enforced between homosexual or lesbian relationships and true marriages. Neither social effort can be ignored. Opposing them and proposing an alernative is a matter of real social justice, not the counterfeit being hoisted upon us all by cultural revolutionaries.

Those who endorse the social experiment which calls a relationship which can never be a marriage to be a marriage - and then wants the Police Power of the State compel all to accept this mistake - are often the most intolerant of anyone who disagrees. In their zeal, some of these folks believe they are fashioning a better world. However, homosexual sexual acts, even if engaged in with one partner for a long time, can never be the equivalent of a marriage - no matter what any court or legislature may say. They can never fulfill the ends of marriage.

The Church will always resist such an assault on marriage and family life. We do so out of love for all men and women and fidelity to the objective moral truth, as well as acknowledgement of the structure of reality. Marriage between one man and one woman - and the family founded upon it - is the foundation of civil societies which cross ethnic, geographical, religious and cultural divides. Marriage is the great unifier, civilizer and liberator of people around the globe.

Marriage is also not simply a religious construct. It is an institution revealed by the Natural Moral Law which can be known by all through the exercise of reason. Marriage - and the family founded upon it - is the first society, the first church, the first hospital, the first school, the first economy, the first government and the first mediating structure of our social order.  When marriage and family flourish, society flourishes. When they don't, we falter and begin to decline.

While we offer the witness of Christian marriage and family life as an alternative in the midst of this movement toward legalizing a counterfeit for marriage, we will stand firm against efforts to compel the Church to deny the truth. Just as the truth about marriage has won the day before in cultures which gave themselves over to error and license masquerading as liberation in the past, it will do so once again.   

At the forefront of the movement to undermine marriage are current efforts by homosexual equivalency activists to equate in the law how one engages in non-marital sexual acts with a member of the same sex to being a member of a particular race or gender. The goal is to make the practice of the homosexual lifestyle equivalent to being a member of a protected class for civil rights purposes. This is legally and socially dangerous. One is a status; the other involves a behavior and a lifestyle.

It will also unleash a fury of persecution against the Church. While we respect the human dignity of every human person, including those with same sex attraction, we cannot and will not ever condone homosexual acts or support the granting of a moral and legal equivalency between homosexual and lesbian partnerships and marriage. Therefore, we will soon run afoul of the State if the current trajectory continues to unfold in the United States.

In his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, Pope Emeritus Benedict summarized the duty of Bishops, all the Clergy and all of the lay faithful when confronted with this kind of an assault on authentic marriage:  Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself.

Through his leadership in defending marriage and family the Archbishop of Louisville, now the President of the USCCB, Joseph Kurtz, has become a hero to the faithful. His efforts have been of great importance in the assaults against marriage. His election to this important post of leadership is a sign of God's goodness to both Church and Nation.

So too is the selection of the Vice President of the Bishops conference, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. He is a stalwart defender of Religious Freedom and the dignity of every human life, at every age and stage.  His letters to Congress on the egregious violations of the First Amendment in the application of the Affordable Care Act through the HHS regulations have been outstanding.

His August 3, 2012 letter was a masterful example of how such letters should be written. It reveals a thorough grasp of the constitutional issues and presents the position of the Church without compromise or equivocation. In his Archdiocese is situated one of the gems in the crown of the renewal of Catholic higher education in the United States, the University of St Thomas in Houston. Among what it calls its Centers of Excellence is a Center for Faith and Culture.

The Center for Faith and Culture offers a Masters Degree in Faith and Culture. Its curriculum is outstanding. I have spent my career at the intersection of Faith and Culture and am thrilled to see the approach they are taking to help prepare leaders for the work which lies ahead.  At a recent gathering sponsored by the Center, the Cardinal spoke eloquently, forcefully and clearly about his opposition to the HHS mandate through which the Affordable Care Act will be enforced - including its efforts to define what constitutes a religious institution. 

In his strong and prophetic challenge to the federal government's effort to confine the work of the Church to the four walls of the church building, he pointed to the Catholic University as an example of the outreaches of the Church which will soon suffer persecution and declared: It's the Lord Jesus and our Church that defines our mission. The University of St. Thomas as a Catholic institution is not outside the total mission of what it means to be Catholic... It's like saying you're nothing but a hobby.

This Cardinal is a defender of the first freedom, religious freedom, insisting with the teaching office of the Catholic Church, that Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. His role as the new Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a great asset and will strengthen the whole Church for the important work which lies ahead.

Back in 2010, Cardinal DiNardo offered a statement as the Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The entire month of October was dedicated to the theme The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure. A few excerpts show the communications skills of this man and the clarity of his convictions:

With each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God's boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent. With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions-due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child.

Yet the loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child's mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.

For those the pro-life community could not reach and assist before they underwent an abortion, the Catholic Church throughout the United States offers compassionate, confidential counseling through its Project Rachel ministry. In contacting Project Rachel, no one need fear that they will encounter anything less than a reflection of God's love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.

In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government. For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll.

In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to Members of Congress, urging them to "retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion." Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people's abortions through their health care premiums.

Ensuring that health care reform will meet the urgent needs for which it has been proposed, and is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on rights of conscience, will be an urgent task in the coming year. Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research-and demand the use of all Americans' tax dollars to support this agenda.

In a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57 percent of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other "adult" tissues; only 21 percent favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings.

Yet the current Administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court's finding that these guidelines may violate the law.

At the other end of life, seriously ill patients are again under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Instead of addressing these patients' real problems by providing love, support and relief of suffering, this agenda urges us to eliminate the patient as though he or she is the problem.

Marching under the false banner of "compassion" and "choice," it raises the fearsome prospect of a future in which the only "choice" cheerfully granted to our most vulnerable patients is a lethal overdose of drugs.

Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that "The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure."

While critics want to portray the Church's witness as a narrow and negative ideology, it is just the opposite: A positive vision of the dignity of each and every human being without exception, each loved equally by God and so equally deserving of our love and our nation's respect.

.In our homes, schools, workplaces, and in public, if we constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others, if we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society.

Our efforts, of course, must always be undergirded with prayer-the silent space for personal daily prayer that allows us to hear God's voice deep in our hearts, and communal prayer that asks God to transform our culture into one that welcomes every human person.

The election of Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo reaffirms the leadership of the Catholic Church on Life, Religious Freedom and Marriage at a critical time in our history as Church and Nation.  It also exposes the annoying and tiring effort to place in opposition the welcome direction from Pope Francis to lead with mercy and love and the prophetic mission of the Church to defend life, family and freedom. Like so many things Catholic, it is not either/or but both/and.

---


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.

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


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


Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption Watch

Image of Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as ... continue reading


BUSTED: FedEx indicted on numerous counts for shipping illegal internet pharmacy drugs Watch

Image of Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes. As a result, FedEx Corp. - a trusted mail delivery system has now was indicted for ... 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 1:1, 4-10
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:1-9
1 That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Bridget of Sweden
July 23: Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Upplandís Lagman, Birger ... 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