Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

4/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The message here is a simple one: we are not on our own, ever - the virtue of supernatural charity is not a mean, but an excess.

We know that St. Peter's Square will be overflowing with happy faces, banners waving, and spontaneous outburst of songs - in many languages -  who will greet the arrival and presence of Pope Francis.  What would the mood be like in Washington Square at the memorial service of the world's best known "militant atheist"?

The Church in recognizing saints - there are many unrecognized, uncanonized saints - affirms that our Communion of Saints extends into heaven, creating a between the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, the angels, and the faithful on earth.  The message here is a simple one: we are not on our own, ever - the virtue of supernatural charity is not a mean, but an excess.

The Church in recognizing saints - there are many unrecognized, uncanonized saints - affirms that our Communion of Saints extends into heaven, creating a between the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, the angels, and the faithful on earth. The message here is a simple one: we are not on our own, ever - the virtue of supernatural charity is not a mean, but an excess.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: saints, communion of saints, Richard Dawkins, John Paul II, JohnXXIII, atheism, atheists, living faith, intercessors, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - There are between 10,000 and 11,000 saints canonized by the Catholic Church, depending on the sources you include.  Pope Francis added 813 saints to the list on one day, May 13, 2013, and now we are to celebrate the recognition of two more, Pope John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27 in St. Peters Square. Attendance estimates start at 500,000 and go as high as a  million. 

Such a gathering of the faithful from around the world in this age of secularism and the myriad of books pouring out on the New Atheism! What would happen if a leading atheist, say Richard Dawkins, died and one of his acolytes organized an event to memorialize Dawkins and announce him the athiest's version of a saint. I'm not sure what that would be called - perhaps, the first Refuser.

I can imagine the New Atheists memorial being held in Washington Square, with about 300-400 people in attendance, mostly curious NYU students and chess players.  "Richard Dawkins denied the existence of God to the very end of his life, without any hesitation or qualification". Richard Dawkins would be eulogized for refusing to accept the solace of eternal life even in the face of death. Presumably dozens of those present with well-thumbed copies of Nietzsche in the back packs would nod in appreciation. 

We know that St. Peter's Square will be overflowing with happy faces, banners waving, and spontaneous outburst of songs - in many languages -  who will greet the arrival and presence of Pope Francis.  What would the mood be like in Washington Square at the memorial service of the world's best known "militant atheist"?  There aren't any songs that come to mind, though atheists themselves are partial to quite a few songs, including "Letting Go of God" sung by Julia Sweeney.

We can bet that Washington Square would be filled to the brim with media - reporters reporting live, TV cameras streaming the events, and inter-views with attendees.  The number of the media would very likely equal the number of attendees, to the point that each attendee would have his or her own personal media partner.  Even the thousands in the annual  March for Life compete for media coverage with a dozen pro-choicers, shouting, sign waving, and looking angry. 

Being an a-theist, that is, without God, is problematic when determining just what you are for. The word itself begins with a prefix that denies and negates what follows, God.  An atheist is always, therefore, opposed to the-ism, belief in God.  The celebration of Richard Dawkins at the first Refuser would be a celebration of absence, of a belief that is missing, missing because Dawkins consistently rejected it.  Not really the occasion for singing or dancing, or outbursts of joy over the life he lived. 

One aspect of the Church's canonization, however, would be the same as Dawkins being recognized as the first, presumably, in an ongoing list of Deniers and Refusers.  Canonization derives from a Greek word meant to set a standard.  Richard Dawkins would become the model for deniers to follow, but since the afterlife is missing Dawkins would not be able to offer any help from beyond the grave.  The totality of the Dawkins' legacy would consist of his books, videos, audiotapes, letters, paper, and memories of those who knew him. 

Though none of Richard Dawkins colleagues, admirers, and disciples will be praying for his soul, I am certain there are many who will.  Who knows? The day may come when Dawkins will intercede on behalf of the New Atheists, that all of them will drop the "a" from their atheism. Anything can happen, and often does.

Catholic saints are considered more than models of spirituality -they can intercede for us, which is why a miracle is required for beatification, a miracle that occurs after the saint's death. An authentic miracle provides evidence of the saint's ability to intercede from heaven for a person in need.  A second miracle is normally required before the Church announces canonization, but Pope Francis made an exception  in the case of Pope John XXIII.

The Church in recognizing saints - there are many unrecognized, uncanonized saints - affirms that our Communion of Saints extends into heaven, creating a between the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, the angels, and the faithful on earth.  The message here is a simple one: we are not on our own, ever - the virtue of supernatural charity is not a mean, but an excess. 

Not only will your neighbor pray for you in your time of need but also those you never knew, saints who died centuries ago fill the heavens with nothing but time on their hands, so to speak, to hear your prayers and intercede with God the Father on your behalf.  No wonder, then, that St. Peters Square on April 27th will be the happiest place on earth, a celebration of the grace pervading the universe.  That is why any declaration of Richard Dawkins as the first Refuser may be premature.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.


---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Mexican drug cartels fueling U.S. heroin epidemic Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The insidious Mexican drug cartels are having a massively detrimental effect on U.S. communities. The cartels have flooded the cities and suburbs with far more potent, less expensive heroin, sending overdose deaths skyrocketing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


African-American churches frequently targeted by arsonists Watch

Image of African American churches are targeted by arsons more than any other houses of worship. The ATF's results have been reported to a national database of church fires.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There have been 29 cases of churches being torched by arsonists in the United States this year alone. Frequently, African-American churches are set alight by arsonists because of racism, religious intolerance, or vandalism. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Anytime ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood threatened to be exposed with EIGHT MORE undercover videos Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The series of unfortunate events will keep on rolling for Planned Parenthood as the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), David Daleiden, shared with conservative radio host Sean Hannity that there are eight more undercover videos that will reveal Planned ... continue reading


Remains of four early leaders of America uncovered in Jamestown with Catholic artifacts Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the floor of a Jamestown church, four body remains of the earliest English colonial leaders in America were unearthed. One was identified as Captain John Smith's rival, who researchers speculate to be part of a secret Catholic cell because of some artifacts ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood caught in FOURTH VIDEO showing the horrific practices of selling aborted baby organs

Image of Dr. Savita Ginde, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, standing in the harvesting lab.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another new Planned Parenthood expose video has been released, making this the second video this week and the fourth revealing hidden camera video in total. The Center for Medical Progress claims to have hours upon hours of footage exposing Planned Parenthood of ... continue reading


AMC movie theaters issue warning to moviegoers urging them to stay vigilant during visit Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A unusual video message is being played at AMC Theaters in Central Florida, urging the audience to keep their eyes open to any bad agendas and malicious or suspicious actions within the establishment. The short film came to be after violent incidents inside movie ... continue reading


A massive 30,000 more immigrants expected to arrive to U.S. before year's end Watch

Image of Illegal immigrants continues to cross the U.S. border.q

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of illegal immigrant children and teens in the United States continues to increase. The United Nations and other humanitarian groups predict that a total of 30,000 more are expected to reach the U.S. before the year ends. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


The youngest convicted murders released from jail after 15 years Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At just 12 and 13-years-old, two siblings confessed to killing their father's girlfriend and both were charged with first-degree murder as adults, despite evidence they were sexually abused by a family member. Yesterday, the two first faced the world they once knew. ... continue reading


Satanic statue secretly unveiled in Detroit, drawing Christian protest Watch

Image of Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend. This has spurred on heavy protest from the city's Christian community. Hundreds gathered at Detroit's ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis be warmly welcomed in the United States? Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be in the United States in September.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will visit the United States for the first time ever in his lifetime during September. However, amid the excitement, the American populace may have lost some warmth towards the pontiff, who they once believed revived the Catholic Church in the country. ... 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, Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:4 "These ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11
3 blow the trumpet for the new month, for the full ... 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 July 31st, 2015 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipzcoa, Spain, ... 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