Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/15/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (

The Romance of Religion calls on us to be the sort of soldierly saints we find in some of the great stories.

As we search for truth, beauty and goodness we are searching for God who is the source and summit of beauty, truth and goodness. The battle is great and the quest is long because we are constantly warring against ugliness, lies and evil. Everywhere we turn Satan falsifies and lies. He offers artificial beauty, distorted truth and counterfeit goodness. To find real beauty, truth and goodness is a lifelong battle.- Fr Dwight Longenecker


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

2/15/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Romance of Religion, truth, goodness, beauty, pilgrimage, seekers, search, adventure, Fr Dwight Longenecker

GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - (Note From Editor in Chief Deacon Keith Fournier: Fr Dwight Longenecker is a friend. He is also one of the great writers and communicators of our age. I highly recommend that our readers buy this beautiful book. Then buy more to give away! Then, recommend it to others. As those who read my articles regularly know, I reject the phrase "post-Christian" to describe our age. I prefer Pre-Christian.

I think we waste too much time bemoaning the state we are in and end up losing heart. This is a new missionary age and we are invited to respond courageously to the moment. The men and women of this age, like those of every age, have a hole in their soul which only God can fill. We have the privilege of helping them respond to the longing within. To follow the quest which we are all drawn to by divine design.

One  way we can do this is to give them books like this one. The Romance of Religion is a delightful work which will be around for a long, long time. It is the kind of book we need - if we really want to help the men and women of this age respond to the longing within them for truth,beauty,and goodness. It invites them to embrace the romantic adventure home to the God who is Love.


Catholic Online caught up with blogger and author Fr Dwight Longenecker to discuss his latest book The Romance of Religion.

CO: Why the title? What is the Romance of Religion?

DL: I don't mean 'romance' as in Valentine's Day with a box of chocolates and a schmoozy dinner. Instead I'm referring to the 'romance' of the great stories, the great quest and the great adventure.

I'm trying to address the fact that so many people in our society see religion as a dull routine--a list of rules and regulations to observe and a list of doctrines to be believed. Of course we mustn't get rid of the rules and the doctrines, but they are the map for the journey. They are not the journey itself.

CO: Are you saying people should be "spiritual but not religious"?

DL: I'm saying exactly the opposite! The new book makes the point that being spiritual without being religious is like playing tennis without the net. We need rules, ritual, regulations, doctrine and dogma to provide the rule book for the game. Without that we are lost on the journey or the game descends into chaos.

Here we are as human beings attempting to go on a journey into this vast, unknown realm called the supernatural or the spiritual. Do we think we can embark on such an adventure without a map, or without consulting the experts? How foolish is that?

Religion provides the map, the experts, the consultants and the guides for this journey. Through religion we learn how to travel, learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before and we learn how to read the signposts and avoid the dangers of the great journey.

CO: But what about the failures of religious people? What about corrupt popes, pedophile priests and the pews full of hypocrites in church?

DL: My new book confronts that question too. I admit that the religious adventure is just that--an adventure--and as Bilbo Baggins says, "An adventure is something that when you are in the middle of it you wish you were at home in front of the fire!" In other words, great risk and dangers are involved.

There are many failures who travel with us. We are failures too. Envision this like a great battlefield. There are casualties on the field. Many are wounded. The medics are busy trying to patch them up. Others are still up and fighting. It is our task to focus on the enemy and to fare forward in the noble fight.

CO: The sub title of the book is 'Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty.' Why are these three so important?

DL: Goodness, Truth and Beauty are like a little Holy Trinity. You cannot have beauty without truth and goodness. You cannot have goodness without beauty and truth. You cannot have truth without beauty and goodness. The three also reveal God's trinitarian truth, and they open us up to God.

As we search for truth, beauty and goodness we are searching for God who is the source and summit of beauty, truth and goodness. The battle is great and the quest is long because we are constantly warring against ugliness, lies and evil. Everywhere we turn Satan falsifies and lies. He offers artificial beauty, distorted truth and counterfeit goodness. To find real beauty, truth and goodness is a lifelong battle.

CO: Some would say that it sounds like you believe in "Fight the Good Fight, Onward Christian Soldiers and all that old fashioned stuff!"

DL: I don't know why those people would call it 'old fashioned'. It's the stuff of the Sacred Scriptures. It's the stuff of the lives of the saints. One of my favorite saints, St Theres of Lisieux said, "Sanctity! It must be won at the point of a sword! You must be a whole saint or no saint at all!"

The Romance of Religion calls on us to be the sort of soldierly saints we find in some of the great stories. We are not triumphalist and proud, but we are more like Cyrano de Bergerac--a musketeer with a monstrous nose and a ridiculous visage. We are like Don Quixote--a foolish old man who rides out with a saucepan on his head for a helmet. We are like Reepicheep the mouse in the Chronicles of Narnia--noble and brave but also a little bit foolish and absurd. This is how we fight, claiming St Paul's noble and paradoxical words, "It is when I am most weak that I am most strong."

CO: How do the great stories fit into your book?

DL: I'm very interested in the function of myth in our culture. "Myth" is popularly understood as just a make believe story--a fiction--a fairytale. However, myth is more complex and meaningful than that. A myth is any story that incarnates the truth in such a way that we experience the truth in the depth of our being. A story that acts as a myth may be a fictional story or it may be something that really happened.

I show in The Romance of Religion how the stories in the Bible are, to use C.S.Lewis' words, "a myth that really happened." This is therefore the story of the Bible, the story of  the saints and it can be the story of our lives. Through the practice of religion we can live out the great stories and become "heroes." Through the romance of religion we can have lives that connect with the greatest story ever told, the story of the carpenter King--Christ the Lord.

CO: Where do we obtain your book?

DL: It is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available as an e-book through those outlets. It is also available at all good books shops, and if readers would like an autographed copy they can get one through my website They should make sure they add a note in the comments section so I can sign it for them.

CO: Thanks for taking time to be with us today Fr Longenecker!

DL: Thank you for the invitation!


Fr. Dwight Longenecker's latest book The Romance of Religion explores the relationship between faith and myth and encourages readers to embark on the great adventure of following Jesus Christ.


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

2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
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.


More U.S.

Sudanese woman previously sentenced to death arrives in United States Watch

Image of Greeted by her husband and two young children at a large crowd of supporters at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, Mariam Ibrahim declined comment to the media.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mariam Ibrahim from Sudan, at one time sentenced to die for her Christian faith has since arrived at her new home in the United States. Her plight was of grave international concern. Greeted by her husband and two young children at a large crowd of supporters ... continue reading

'We are coming for you!' American Islamic jihadist suicide bomber gleefully shouts to Americans on chilling final video Watch

Image of American terrorist Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha smiled and talked about dying and going to paradise.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new video shows an American smiling as he prepares to kill himself and dozens of others in a suicide bombing. In the video, made just before his death, Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha, 22, ripped, chewed, and burned his American passport before climbing into an ... continue reading

Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading

GOBBLING UP RESOURCES: Fastest part of U.S. population is immigrants, gobbling up national resources Watch

Image of A new report from the group warns that continued population growth could top a worldwide 10 billion by 2100. The report, entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most of the United States' population growth is from immigrants - who are consuming resources dangerously fast. Those are the finding of the group called Negative Population Growth Inc. Furthermore, 80 percent of the growth in U.S. population comes from ... continue reading

Malinformed much? Ninety percent of your information now comes from just 6 media sources Watch

Image of Small media outlets are consumed by the large, limiting the variety of expression.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever tried to describe something, but lacked the vocabulary to do it? This is the concept behind Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell's 1984. Orwell proposed that by limiting expression, thought itself could be limited. Today, as media companies ... continue reading

Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage struck down Watch

Image of The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit ... continue reading

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... 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

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

Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... 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