Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/30/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Join me in adding Bill and Melinda Gates to your prayer list. Yes, that's right; that presumes we have a prayer list. We should have one. Prayer is the most powerful force for good in the universe.

Can you imagine the possibilities if a man of the immense talent of Bill Gates, with his extraordinary influence on so many fronts, had a life changing encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ? Grace perfects or completes nature, to quote the angelic doctor Thomas Aquinas. Imagine what this man could do after being captured by Jesus Christ. Bill Gates can have the same kind of encounter that brought the Apostle Paul, and countless other leaders through the ages, to that kind of transformation in Christ!

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/30/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bill Gates, melinda Gates, Microsoft, Gates Foundation, Africa, morality, evangelization, mission, conversion, prayer, intercession, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - A  wide-ranging interview Jeff Goodell had with Bill Gates for Rolling Stone magazine has generated a lot of responses in the media. It appears in the March 27, 2014 edition. You can read the interesting dialogue here

There are many fascinating topics addressed in the interview. It will provide material for many articles and reflections from people across the political spectrum.  The reaction in the Christian community was mixed.

Christians who still hold to the Natural Moral Law position, rooted in the Scriptures and confirmed throughout the consistent teaching of the Church - on the dignity of every human life, including our first neighbors in the womb, and the beauty and meaning of the conjugal embrace within marriage -  are aware of the inconsistency between the faith claims of Melinda Gates to being a practicing Catholic and the work of the Gates Foundation in Africa.

There, where the Foundation is engaged in many commendable efforts, it also promotes easier access to abortion, abortifacient chemical contraception, condoms, and programs which undermine the African family. Of course, as is often the case, those who promote such a deficient view of marriage, fertility, human sexuality and freedom, claim to be compassionate while promoting programs which reject the truth about life and deny the dignity of marriage, women and family. 

No one speaks more eloquently or prophetically to the built in contradiction between the profession of Catholic faith by Melinda Gates and her contradictory actions than our friend, a frequent contributor to Catholic Online and the founder of Culture of Life Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha. Uju is an African woman, living and working in the United Kingdom as a Specialist Biomedical Scientist.

However, I want to write about something quite different; the missionary moment which this interview with Bill Gates presents to us. It is interesting to note the dialogue between Bill Gates and Jeff Goodell, in the Rolling Stones interview, on the topic of moral and religious issues. Here is the excerpt:

You're a technologist, but a lot of your work now with the foundation has a moral dimension. Has your thinking about the value of religion changed over the years?
The moral systems of religion, I think, are superimportant. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief.

Do you believe in God?
I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm - not all - that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about.

To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know.


I offer a very different response than some of my fellow Christians, whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, to this interview; at least what I have read thus far. That is not to say that there is no room for dissecting the responses of Bill Gates with a critical analysis.

I refuse to do so. I offer an alternative lens within which to view the encounter, a lens which believes in the power of God to change men and women.A lens of a Church history where, at significant moments in the loving plan of God, significant leaders experienced conversion.   

I suggest that his obvious openness to "reducing inequity", his open fascination with the "mystery and beauty of the world" and his obvious attraction to considering the moral implications of believing in God, should draw everyone of us who bear the name Christian to our knees in prayer for this man and his wife.

These are the signs of a man being drawn into an encounter with the Lord through whom the Universe was created and in whom both Bill and Melinda Gates can find the fulfillment of their deepest longings by being re-created, made new. (2 Cor. 5:17) 

I sincerely hope that after achieving amazing success on so many fronts in the advance of technology, they are in an existential season in their own lives. Those are the times when men and women are so often opened to having a life altering encounter with the Lord.   Maybe they are experiencing that "restless heart" of which Augustine wrote, "You have made us for yourself Oh Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in You".

The Christian Church has a history of praying leaders to the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ with utterly amazing historical implications. One has only to consider Constantine or, out taken of our recent liturgical celebration of St Patrick's day, the former Druid slave-owner of Patrick who was won to Christianity when Patrick returned to Ireland to evangelize the Nation.

This can happen today!

We are living in a new missionary age. The message of the Gospel and the Christian vision of the human person, the family and a truly good society are the path to real peace and real progress. It always has been and always will be. That is because it brings men and women into an encounter with a Divine Person, the Risen Jesus Christ the Savior. In that encounter, they discover the meaning of human existence and the mystery of their own lives.

As the fathers of the last great Church Council said so well in Paragraph 22 of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes - Joy and Hope)

The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown. He who is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15), (2 Cor. 4:4.) is Himself the perfect man.

To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled, by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man.(
Gaudium et spes #22)

Finally, we are commanded by God's word -and instructed by the Church- to pray for our leaders.We should take the admonition to heart and actually do so! When the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, whom he had established in leadership of the Church in Ephesus, he gave explicit instructions to the Christian community:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.  This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

In its excellent treatment on prayer, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, addresses the many forms of prayer, including intercession. It explains the seriousness of the early Christian understanding of this obligation to pray for leaders. It cites that passage from Timothy as well as many others from the Bible. I have included them in the following quote:

Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.(Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk 23:28,34)

The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. 116 Cf. Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5; 2 Cor 9:14. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel (Cf. Eph 6:18-20; Col 4:3-4; 1 Thess 5:25) but also intercedes for themThe intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.119 .(Cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4.) Cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4. (CCC#2635, 2636)


Well, most of us do not have Kings to pray for anymore. But we do have many different kinds of leaders - in many different sectors of our social life together. There is no doubt that Bill and Melinda Gates are significant leaders in this Nation - and around the world. They are already being exposed to the Truth of the Gospel and the teaching of the Christian faith when they attend the Catholic Church together as a family.

Certainly, one could spend energy discussing and parsing why some of what they must be hearing does not seem to be finding good soil, as evidenced in some of their decisions. I choose to take another approach - and ask you to join me.

Join me in adding Bill and Melinda Gates to your prayer list. Yes, that's right; that presumes we have a prayer list. We should have one. Prayer is the most powerful force for good in the universe. 

The older I get the more I have come to believe I would not have the great treasure of living faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, and all that entails, unless someone, perhaps many someone's, were praying for me. Yes, the seed of faith was planted in me at Baptism, but I needed to give my Yes - and still do - every day. Prayer makes tht possible and opens my eyes to see all of life differently through living faith.

I needed grace, and still need grace every day. So do Bill and Melinda Gates - and the best thing we could all do is to commit ourselves to fervent prayer for them to encounter the Lord and His truth in a profound and life changing way.

Can you imagine the possibilities if a man of the immense talent of Bill Gates, with his extraordinary influence on so many fronts, had a life changing encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ? Grace perfects or completes nature, to quote the angelic doctor Thomas Aquinas.

Imagine what this man could do after being captured by Jesus Christ. Bill Gates can have the same kind of encounter that brought the Apostle Paul, and countless other leaders through the ages, to that kind of transformation in Christ!

Imagine the good that Melinda Gates could really do if she came to see the truth taught infallibly by the Church she professes to follow concerning the dignity of every single human person, including our youngest neighbors in the womb. She can!

After all, it is the same Lord, same Holy Spirit and same Church. We are invited to participate in the miracles of this age and to believe in the power of prayer to change people, cultures and nations.

Just as Leaders have encountered the Lord throughout Church history,and been completely transformed in the encounter, they can do so today. Many more will, if we pray with living faith and perseverance. Join me in praying for Bill and Melinda Gates.

If you would like to join a growing coalition of Christians, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, in building a network dedicated to such prayer for leaders, please contact me at deaconfournier@catholic.org

---


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.

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


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


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