Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

7/8/2013 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Gathering all these pieces together, we can say that the encyclical points out that there is an indissoluble link between faith and our ability to see the natural moral law, to use practical reason, and to follow the natural moral law as a means for overcome selfishness and being able to enter into a true dialogue with God.


By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (

7/8/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, faith, common good, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, Andrew M. Greenwell

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - In his first encyclical entitled Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis focused on the theological virtue of faith.  It is apparent that Pope Francis sees the Catholic faith (and disbelief in the Catholic faith) as having deep social (as well as eternal) consequences. 

The Catholic faith is part of the "common good."  (LF, Nos. 50-51, 55)  It follows that disbelief in God and the concomitant relativism in ethics that follows in its wake are not part of the "common good." 

Disbelief in God, which leads to moral relativism, is not a common good.  People do not flourish when they do not believe in God and believe that good is relative.  In the "absence of the light" of faith, "everything comes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil," and we find ourselves apace on "roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere."  (LF, No. 2)  "When faith is weakened, the foundations of humanity also risk being weakened."  (LF, No. 55)

In the encyclical, Pope Francis teaches that there is a link, no an inextricable bond, between faith and morals.  There is an important connection, the encyclical points out, between faith and the Ten Commandments. 

Faith in the living God allows us to see that the Ten Commandments are "not a set of negative commands."  Rather, they are "concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego in order to enter into dialogue with God, to be embraced by his mercy, and then to bring that mercy to others."  (LF, No. 46)

Because there is an intimate connection between faith and the Ten Commandments, it necessarily follows that there is an intimate connection between faith and the natural moral law. 

After all, the Ten Commandments are merely "a privileged expression of the natural law."  CCC § 2070.  Though the Ten Commandments were revealed by God to Moses, their content is "accessible to reason alone."  CCC § 2070.  In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas equated the Ten Commandments with the natural moral law.  S.T. IaIIae, q. 100, art. 1, c.

Gathering all these pieces together, we can say that the encyclical points out that there is an indissoluble link between faith and our ability to see the natural moral law, to use practical reason, and to follow the natural moral law as a means for overcome selfishness and being able to enter into a true dialogue with God.

Now, one of those Ten Commandments, the Sixth, is "You shall not commit adultery."  (Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18)  CCC Part III, Sec. 2, Chap. 2, art. 6.  The Church has always understood this commandment as "encompassing the whole of human sexuality."  CCC § 2336.

Both reason and revelation tell us that God created us male and female.  Both reason and revelation tell us that this sexual complementarity between the sexes is ordered toward "the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life." CCC § 2333.

Both reason and revelation also tell us that all men and women are called to chastity.  Anyone who is curious about that can, as anecdotal evidence, read St. Jerome's treatise Against Jovinianus, where he cites to multiple examples of how chastity was revered among the pagans.

"Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of his bodily and spiritual being.  Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman."  CCC § 2337

Chastity is a human, natural moral virtue, not an exclusively Christian one (though Christians may enjoy chastity as a grace).  That is why right reason sees its value, though often (because of our fallen nature or wicked customs) individual persons and even whole cultures have failed, in various ways, to see its moral importance. 

One of the more serious offenses against chastity is homosexuality, defined as sexual relations between men or between women.  Both right reason and revelation find homosexual acts to be acts of great depravity. 

"Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.'"  CCC § 2357.  They are, in addition, "contrary to the natural law," and therefore apparently evil even to unaided reason.  Id.

Because faith and morals are so intertwined, the loss of faith can lead to a collapse in morals.  Conversely, chronic living in sin can lead to the loss of faith.

The support by many Catholics of homosexual sexual activity and same-sex "marriage," which shows a wholesale disregard for the Sixth Commandment, is a sign of the collapse of faith among those Catholics. 

In a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the majority of Catholics polled favored same-sex "marriage."  In a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, it was suggested that perhaps as much as 54 percent of Catholics support same-sex "marriage."  Granted, the polls may be subject to criticism and the figures overstated, but the fact that any substantial percentage of Catholics support homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle and seek its normalization, even legal protection, in same sex "marriages" indicates a collapse of faith.

It ought not to surprise us that the loss of belief in God, the only God with a face--that is God the Creator, the same God as the God of Israel and the God of Jesus Christ--has led to this moral capitulation to the godless.  The Catholics who, in violation of the precepts of the Sixth Commandment, support homosexual activity and same-sex "marriage" have, it would seem, built for themselves faceless gods--idols, and these idols have put us on the path of moral dissolution.

St. Paul links homosexual activity to a disbelief in God the Creator.  "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ungodliness and wickedness of men."  (Rom. 1:18).  Rejection of God leads to idolatry, the exchanging "the glory of the immortal God for images resembling man or birds or animals or reptiles."  (Rom. 1:23)

The exchange of faith in God who is outside of our control for false faith in the idols of one's own making results in the collapse of sexual morality.  Invariably, lust raises its head, which leads to impurity, and which leads to the acting out of dishonorable passions, including homosexuality, where "women exchange natural relations for unnatural," and men "likewise give up natural relations with women are consumed with passion for one another."  (Rom. 1:27)

Catholic support for the homosexual agenda at any level shows a collapse of the faith, a collapse in morality.  Those who support such things have "exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images," for false gods without a face. 

Be not fooled by lukewarm complacency: if you do not see the morally aberrant nature of homosexual activity, you do not have the faith. 

Be not trapped by the conventional lies of the day: if you do not see the moral viciousness of same-sex "marriage" and how detrimental it is to marriage and to human society, you do not have the faith.

In his encyclical, Pope Francis calls these Catholics, as well as others who have given their life to idols, to conversion, a conversion of heart and mind and life to the one and only true God.

"Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God in a personal encounter.  Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history." (LF, No. 13)

"Faith" the Pope continues, "consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God's call.  Herein lies the paradox: by constantly turning towards the Lord, we discover a sure path which liberates us from the dissolution imposed upon us by idols."

The lines of our country's history are crooked, they must be made straight.  The paths we are on lead nowhere; we need to find the sure path.

It is only by smashing our idols, accepting whole and entire the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), the faith proposed to us by the Magisterium of the Church, the faith which is the subject matter of Pope Francis's encyclical Lumen Fidei, and boldly insisting that it is part of the common good, that hope will rise in turning the tide of practical atheism and relativism, where there is no such thing as Truth, and no such thing as Good.

Lumen Fidei is nothing less than an expansion of this Scripture: "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."  (2 Chr. 7:14)


Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at


'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
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.


More Year of Faith

The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

By Fr. James Farfaglia

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own baptism, it is a good idea to go through your personal files and find out when it occurred.  CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic ... continue reading

Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - I didn't steal any cookies mommy! says a little boy whose mother asked him if he was hungry, wiping the ... continue reading

Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man's self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches ... continue reading

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading

Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading

The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading

Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading

Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading

All Year of Faith News


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 7:1-3, 15-17
1 Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, came to meet ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take your seat at my ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:1-6
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and there was a man present ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 18th, 2017 Image

St. Volusian
January 18: Bishop of Tours, France. A senator at Tours, he ... Read More