Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

4/22/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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.


---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

Secret Service eyes Madonna after star threatens to blow up White House during Women's March on Washington Watch

Image of Madonna admits before a crowd of thousands that she has considered

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pop star Madonna was one of several celebrities attending the Women's March on Washington Saturday, January 21, just one day after Donald Trump was sworn into the Presidency. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Like many celebrities, Madonna spoke candidly without fear ... continue reading


Beheading videos and the ISIS flag - Masked man intimidates Trump supporters in Washington Watch

Image of Masked man revealed an ISIS flag and beheading video on his phone (InfoWars).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A group of President Donald Trump supporters were enjoying themselves in a sports bar in northwest Washington when a masked man approached the large glass window. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Outside the Proper 21 sports bar, the masked protester pulled a phone ... continue reading


'I could have been arrested...' - Nebraska law forcing nuns to remove habits in schools sparks controversy Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear habits in Nebraska schools.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Sister Madeleine Miller's efforts to substitute teach in a Nebraska public school ran afoul of a century-old law that left her bewildered - and prompted the state legislature to take another look at the law's dark past. Lincoln, NE (CNA/EWTN News) - "I was just ... continue reading


Meth cook and devil worshiper attacks mother then leaves her for dead with demon king's name written on her chest Watch

Image of Chase Wall attacked his mother and left her for dead with a demon king's name scrawled across her chest.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Chase Wall, a 33-year-old occult-obsessed meth addict, was arrested after beating his mother, stealing her car and leaving her for dead with a demon's name inscribed on her bloody chest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Wall's 66-year-old mother was discovered in a ... continue reading


Amazing discovery in Canada reveals one man's controversial claim was TRUE Watch

Image of Evidence of stone tools used on a horse's jaw means humans arrived in North America thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers at the Université of Montréal (UdeM) in Canada made an important discovery this year, changing a key element of North American history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - New research suggests humans first traveled to North America 24,000 ... continue reading


When one Bible isn't enough, use two! Trump to take oath with TWO Holy Bibles Watch

Image of Donald Trump will be sworn into office using two Bibles.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 19. At that time, he will have not one but two Bibles - one of which will be pulled from the Library of Congress collection to commemorate the special event. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Donald Trump will be ... continue reading


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Pro-Life Christian Leader and Hero Watch

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Christian Leader

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On January 27, 2017, the annual March for Life will take place once again in Washington, DC. On January 16th we commemorate a great Christian and Human Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated in 1968 for defending the fundamental truth of ... continue reading


Pope Francis cited in one bishop's call for change - Will it help? Watch

Image of Pope Francis has been calling for help on behalf of immigrants for years.

By Kevin Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump has raised questions about the future of immigration reform, but the nation's Catholic bishops remain hopeful. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "We also find it important that we engage the present incoming ... continue reading


'The Greatest Show on Earth' to pack up for the last time after 146 years Watch

Image of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus will close after 146 years (Todd Hesler).

By Nikki Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus announced they would be closing up shop for the final time this May after 146 years of bringing magic to families across the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & ... continue reading


Christianity on the decline under Obama, pop media, and atheist persecution Watch

Image of A church is burned in full-scale effigy at the Burning Man festival, an expression of pop culture.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Atheism and agnosticism gained a boost during Obama's presidency as the number of people claiming no religious affiliation rose during his administration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Pew Research Center has released a report which states, "When it comes ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:22-30
22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, 'Beelzebul ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 23rd, 2017 Image

St. Ildephonsus
January 23: St. Ildephonsus is highly regarded in Spain and ... Read More